In a stunningly stupid moment of callous candor, the lead corporate defendant in a wrongful death case tied to the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga has admitted to running a stealth campaign against the fallen Palmetto State legal dynasty. This campaign – while certainly drawing a bead on a deserving target – nonetheless devolved into a desperate, duplicitous attempt to absolve this corporate chieftain and his company of any blame (and therefore any liability) in connection with the 2019 boat crash tragedy that broke the Murdaugh saga wide open.
Now the desperation and duplicity has been confirmed by the very man who was – and is – ultimately responsible for the stealth campaign: Greg Parker, founder of the Parker’s Kitchen chain of convenience stores.
The bombshell revelation from Parker hit the airwaves shortly after midnight on Saturday morning via an expansive piece penned by reporter Valerie Bauerlein of The Wall Street Journal.
Asked directly by Bauerlein whether he conducted the stealth operation against the Murdaughs, Parker said the proverbial quiet part out loud.
“Here’s a better question,” he told the veteran reporter, who cut her teeth in South Carolina years ago with The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper. “‘So what?’ Of course I did. Anybody in my situation would have done exactly the same thing.”
“I’m proud of the work we did,” Parker added.
Bauerlein’s investigative tome further exposed connections between Parker and some of the shady characters who stand accused of leaking confidential court documents and other materials from the wrongful death case filed by the family of 19-year-old Mallory Beach of Hampton, S.C.
The leaking of these confidential files to purported “journalists” – and to ostensibly independent “documentarians” – has spawned a separate civil conspiracy case which also lists Parker and his company among the defendants.
Attorney Mark Tinsley of Allendale, S.C. is representing the Beach family in both actions.
“The height of Greg Parker‘s arrogance, which appears to know no bounds, is simply shocking,” Tinsley said in a statement issued to this news outlet following the publication of the WSJ report. “Rather than admitting his attacks on the Beach family were made as a part of a lapse in judgment, he incredibly doubles down, (saying) he is proud of what they did.”
Earlier this week, my news outlet reported on attempts by Parker’s attorneys to subpoena phone records and text messages from Tinsley and his co-council, Tabor Vaux, to and from reporters here at FITSNews.
The goal of this subpoena? To further promote the theory it was Tinsley and Vaux – not Parker and his team – who leaked the confidential materials, which appeared in a recent documentary which aired on the Investigative Discovery network.
In other words, Parker’s people leaked the files, lied about it and tried to pin the leak on someone else.
“Greg Parker and his team created a false narrative accusing me and the Beach family of being the source of leaked materials that were included in the Murdaugh Murders’ documentary on Investigation Discovery,” TInsley said. “These demonstrably false assertions were made knowingly and with complete awareness of their falsity. More importantly, they are now completely dispelled and demonstrated to be just what they are — flagrant lies.”
What event led us here?
To recap: The late Paul Murdaugh (who along with his mother Maggie Murdaugh was murdered last June) crashed his father Alex Murdaugh’s 17-foot, center console Sea Hunt fishing boat into a piling near the Archer’s Creek Bridge outside of Parris Island, S.C. shortly after 2:00 a.m. EDT on February 24, 2019.
Beach was flung into the cold, dark water following the boat’s impact with the bridge. Her body was found a week later several miles from the site of the crash.
Seconds before the boat crashed, GPS data obtained by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) indicated the vessel was traveling at a speed of approximately 29 miles per hour (or approximately 25 knots).
Paul Murdaugh purchased alcohol at a Parker’s Kitchen store prior to the crash using a fake identification card belonging to his older brother, Buster Murdaugh. Parker and his company are the only corporate defendants who have declined to settle in this case – reportedly turning down a final offer to resolve the wrongful death case for $25 million, according to Bauerlein.
(Click to view)
As I reported earlier this week, S.C. circuit court judge Daniel Hall is considering severing the defendants in the boat crash case – which means the portion of the wrongful death case involving Parker and his company could move forward as soon as November.
Assuming it does, expect the revelations uncovered by Bauerlein to factor prominently in the proceedings – especially as it relates to the graphic materials Parker’s team improperly leaked.
Among other leaked materials, photos of Beach’s dead body appeared in the Investigative Discovery documentary – which was co-produced by Gregg Roman, a Middle East policy expert from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In addition to his role on the documentary, Roman published a blog post in 2021 which contained all sorts of inside information on the Murdaugh family.
This inside information was reportedly taken “word for word” from a research document entitled ‘The Murdaugh Report,’ which was prepared by corporate communications consultant Wesley Donehue – yet another operative in Parker’s employ.
Roman was also paid by Parker for “research,” but told Bauerlein his writing and documentary work were “independent” of that project.
Good luck selling that distinction to a jury …
”The confirmation, made on the record to the Wall Street Journal by Greg Parker and his team, that the documentary’s co-executive producer, Gregg Roman, was hired by and worked for Greg Parker is damning,” Tinsley said. “This revelation confirms the source of the leak is Greg Parker and his team, as alleged by the Beach family from the beginning.”
Not only that, according to Tinsley, attorneys for Parker “absolutely knew that Gregg Roman worked for Greg Parker.”
“However, they tried to keep that fact hidden by falsely lashing out against the Beach family and me,” Tinsley added. “These indefensible attacks continue to be a sad day for the legal community and the people of South Carolina. When someone thinks that because he is wealthy, he is not subject to the rules- much less even basic human decency, such behavior cannot be allowed.”
One interesting item? Parker implied to Bauerlein that his “investigation” into the Murdaughs helped police uncover new information related to two unsolved deaths with ties to the family – the 2015 killing of Stephen Smith and the 2018 “slip and fall” death of Gloria Satterfield, the Murdaughs’ former housekeeper.
As of this writing, however, none of my law enforcement sources have pointed to a single shred of evidence provided by anyone in Parker’s employ to the investigators and prosecutors working the various Murdaugh-related probes. In fact, there are even allegations that evidence which could have helped investigators solve the Smith case was destroyed.
Reached for comment on Friday evening, SLED public information director Renée Wunderlich said she could not comment on whether her agency had received any information from Parker or those in his employ.
“This is an active and ongoing investigation,” Wunderlich told me. “It would be inappropriate to comment at this time.”
Bottom line? Bauerlein’s story – complete with Parker’s ill-advised admission – is a major development in the civil side of this ongoing saga. Count on this news outlet to keep our readers up to speed on all of those new developments – whether our reporters break the stories or not.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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